105 hospitalized with flu since October in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - The flu is taking its toll on the Inland Northwest with more than a hundred people hospitalized for the virus this flu season.

The Spokane Regional Health District reports 105 people have been hospitalized with the flu since October.

That's up from 19 people hospitalized with the virus last year.

105 hospitalized with flu since October in Spokane

Of those hospitalized this year, 72-percent were over the age of 50.

The health district said we have not reached the peak of flu season. Historically, February and March are the peak months for contracting the influenza virus.

At Rockwood Urgent Care, Dr. Benjamin Hubbard said he sees two to three patients a day with flu like symptoms.

"They just look like the hazy eyes, that are just sick and they are just like 'ugh'," Dr. Benjamin Hubbard said.

"You walk in and say they probably really have the influenza," he added.

Symptoms of the flu include body aches, fever, chills, sore throat, cough and headache.

On Wednesday night, Nancy Rodriguez waited in the urgent care for an hour before getting her two daughters in to see a doctor.

"It's just spreading through the household," Nancy Rodriguez said.

"Everyone you talk to has been sick, it's just crazy. A lot of people at work, out of 20 people I think there are four that aren't sick," Rodriguez said.

Dr. Hubbard said he advises patients with flu-like symptoms to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen to ease the aches and pains.

"People don't really like that answer all that much, and there's not a lot we can do," Dr. Hubbard said.

However, if you get to a doctor within 24 hours of the first onset of symptoms, Tamiflu, a prescription only medication, may shorten how long you have to suffer.

Dr. Hubbard said if other flu symptoms gradually disappear but your cough gets worse, it's probably time to see a doctor.

"So I would worry about a cough that is very productive because even when the influenza goes away sometimes they can be left with a bronchitis or pneumonia," Dr. Hubbard added.

The health district advises people be vigilant about washing hands and using hand sanitizer when necessary to stop the spread of the virus. Also, if you haven't had a flu shot you still have time to do so.